The Official Fortnight

A HISTORIC definition of the meaning of Philippine freedom and of the problems and objectives of the new Government is the inaugural address of President Jose P. Laurel on October 14, 1943. Woven into the address is a living philosophy, social, economic, and political—rooted in Filipinism and in solicitude for the common man—which may well serve as a formula for social security and national survival.

Emphatic and challenging, President Jose P. Laurel stresses the imperative need for peace and order, the expansion or intensification of agricultural pursuits, the production of essential commodities, the consolidation of authority of the paterfamilias, the cultivation of Oriental virtues, the restoration of womanhood to its proper place in the home, the strengthening of the moral fibre of the youth, the control of environmental and educational forces to defeat disease and ignorance, the amelioration of the masses, and the eradication of factional strife. He envisions the attainment of independent landholding for every Filipino, the orientation of the people so that knowing their rights as well as their duties, they will discharge their duties even to the extent of sacrificing their rights, a public service guarding the common interest like vestal fire, the adjustment of the educational system, and a unity of purpose and determination which would make Philippine independence stable, lasting and real.

THE National Assembly submitted for the signature of the President bills calling for efficiency in administration, social reform, cordial foreign relations, and economic security. From October 20 to 29, these were the more important bills signed by the President: Act No. 1, creating a Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Act No. 2, appropriating two million pesos for the relief of war sufferers; Act No. 3, fixing the fiscal year of all branches of the Government; Act No. 7, fixing the rank and salaries of officers and employees of the Republic of the Philippines; and Act No. 8, providing for the continuance of the appropriations authorized by the Chairman of the former Executive Commission, as amended, making the portions of the same correspond to the period from October 14 to December 31, 1943, available for the expenditure of the new Government during the same period.

FOLLOWING the spirit of the inaugural address Proclamation No. 2 was issued granting a general amnesty and pardon to all citizens of the Philippines liable for crimes and offenses of political nature, to which the National Assembly concurred in Resolution No. 2. Related to the proclamation and resolution were the release of former guerrilla members on October 25, 1943 by the Imperial Japanese Army, and the sixth graduation exercises of the Institute for Former USAFFE Men. Said President Laurel at the graduation exercises: “I want to impress upon your minds, however, that before and above the right to exercise that freedom (of the former USAFFE men), is the duty to help, in every way you can, to strengthen and preserve the Republic we have just set up.”

IN connection with Proclamation No 3 declaring the nineteenth of November of each year as Farmers’ Day, and Executive Order No. 1, creating a National Planning Board to insure the scientific management of the economic resources of the country the President said: “Our political emancipation would be vain and illusory if we did not at the same time work out our economic salvation.”

THE theme of national unity is reflected in Executive Order Nos. 2 and 4. The first requires all officials and employees and members of the armed forces of the Republic of the Philippines to take an oath of loyalty under the Constitution, while the second names the Philippine National Anthem as “Diwa ng Bayan” and regulates its use.

TO the National Education Board, created by Executive Order No. 5, are assigned Dr. Jorge Bocobo, Dr. Francisco Benitez, and Dr. Mariano V. de los Santos, who will survey and study the present system of public and private education, and recommend such reforms as are calculated to fulfill the aims of a more definite orientation of educational aims in accordance with social and economic conditions.

PRESIDENT Laurel conserved the structure of the administrative machinery by reappointing on October 19 most of the Commissioners of the former Executive Commission as ministers in the executive departments of the Republic. Claro M. Recto was named the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. The Ministers of Finance, Justice, Agriculture and Commerce, and Public Works and Communications, respectively, are Antonio de las Alas, Teofilo Sison, Rafael R. Alunan, and Quintin Paredes. As spokesman for the ministers at their induction into office, the Foreign Minister declared: “We have responded to your invitation, Mr. President, from the same motives that impelled you to accept the highest magistracy of the nation against the counsels of egoism, namely: the public service which permits of no cunning evasions, hedgings or desertions, and the sincere desire to save the nation.”

THE President created a Council of State composed of Ramon Avanceña as Chairman, and Miguel Unson, Emilio Aguinaldo, Rafael Corpus, and Pedro Aunario as members. These men are to advise him in matters of supreme and vital interest to the nation.

EXECUTIVE Order No. 3, creates the Council of Vice-Ministers, which is designed to secure simplification, the elimination of duplication, delay and misunderstanding in the public service.

IN connection with Proclamation No 3 declaring the nineteenth of November of each year as Farmers’ Day, and Executive Order No. 1, creating a National Planning Board to insure the scientific management of the economic resources of the country the President said: “Our political emancipation would be vain and illusory if we did not at the same time work out our economic salvation.”

THE theme of national unity is reflected in Executive Order Nos. 2 and 4. The first requires all officials and employees and members of the armed forces of the Republic of the Philippines to take an oath of loyalty under the Constitution, while the second names the Philippine National Anthem as “Diwa ng Bayan” and regulates its use.

TO the National Education Board, created by Executive Order No. 5, are assigned Dr. Jorge Bocobo, Dr. Francisco Benitez, and Dr. Mariano V. de los Santos, who will survey and study the present system of public and private education, and recommend such reforms as are calculated to fulfill the aims of a more definite orientation of educational aims in accordance with social and economic conditions.

PRESIDENT Laurel conserved the structure of the administrative machinery by reappointing on October 19 most of the Commissioners of the former Executive Commission as ministers in the executive departments of the Republic. Claro M. Recto was named the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. The Ministers of Finance, Justice, Agriculture and Commerce, and Public Works and Communications, respectively, are Antonio de las Alas, Teofilo Sison, Rafael R. Alunan, and Quintin Paredes. As spokesman for the ministers at their induction into office, the Foreign Minister declared: “We have responded to your invitation, Mr. President, from the same motives that impelled you to accept the highest magistracy of the nation against the counsels of egoism, namely: the public service which permits of no cunning evasions, hedgings or desertions, and the sincere desire to save the nation.”

THE President created a Council of State composed of Ramon Avancena as Chairman, and Miguel Unson, Emilio Aguinaldo, Rafael Corpus, and Pedro Aunario as members. These men are to advise him in matters of supreme and vital interest to the nation.

EXECUTIVE Order No. 3, creates the Council of Vice-Ministers, which is designed to secure simplification, the elimination of duplication, delay and misunderstanding in the public service.

IN the prompt signing of the Pact of Alliance between the Republic of the Philippines and the Empire of Japan by Foreign Minister Recto and Japanese Ambassador Syozo Murata, we find a valid justification of the new consciousness of a united Asia. The pact was ratified by the Privy Council of Japan on October 20, while the exchange of ratification took place in Malacañan, Manila, on October 28. The pact calls for perpetual relations of good neighbour and amity; cooperation in political, economic, and military fields and in the establishment of Greater East Asia between the High Contracting Parties. Its principal modality follows: “The Philippines will afford all kinds of facilities for military actions undertaken by Japan; the Philippines and Japan will closely cooperate with each other to safeguard the territorial integrity and independence of the Philippines.”

THE President, in an explanatory statement of the treaty, declared that “the pact does not envisage a declaration of war by the Philippines against any foreign nation. No Filipino soldier will be called upon to render military service outside the limits of Philippine territory, or to fight except only for defense purposes, that is, in case of invasion which threatens the independence and territorial integrity of the country. While the Philippines and Japan will cooperate as they have been cooperating heretofore, on political and economic matters, military cooperation will take place, under the terms of the pact, only if and when such military cooperation becomes necessary for the defense of the territorial integrity and independence of the Philippines. Thus although the pact constitutes an alliance, the military aspect thereof is essentially defensive and unilateral in character in favor of the Philippines.” Foreign Minister Recto, in two statements, relating to the pact, expressed himself in a similar vein.

AS further elaborated on by the Government, the foreign relations of the Philippines with other countries can be gleaned from the appointment of Chairman Jorge B. Vargas, of the former Executive Commission, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Philippines to Japan on October 23; in the presidential overseas broadcast on the night of October 14, asking America, which has repeatedly avowed friendship and solicitude for the Philippines, “to recognize and respect our independence and forbear to bring greater suffering and destruction into our midst and among our people,” and “to prove to the entire world the sincerity of her protestations for friendship towards us by not placing obstacles on the path of the new Republic”; in the salutes of other countries to the Republic of the Philippines, the most prominent of which are Japan herself, the Great German Reich, the Italian Fascist Government, Spain, China, Manchoukuo, Thailand, Burma, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Croatia; and in the recognition by the Republic of the Philippines of the Provisional Government of Azad Hind (Free India). The last sentence of the recognition runs thus: “In the firm belief that the freedom of India is essential to a new world order based on justice the Philippine Government is pleased to recognize your Government and sincerely hopes to see established a new, free and independent India as befitting the race that has made one of the greatest contributions to human civilization.”

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library